Can Wisconsin’s press suck any harder? Yes… Yes it can. And it will.

Recent developments in the ongoing destruction of the dairyland’s fourth estate.
[discovered at Romanesko‘s.]

Three editors recently walked off the job due to unbearable conditions at the Ashland Daily Press and they’re talking all about it.
Fear and loathing in Ashland
Three editors quit Daily Press, voice frustrations on KUWS

AOL fired 40% of its Patch staff on Friday. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Five Milwaukee-area Patch staffers were fired Friday. Seven others will produce the service’s 12 area sites until October while a partner is sought to operate them, a departing staff member said.”

A few former Patch editors offer some background in comments here: [UPDATED] AOL BOSS TIM ARMSTRONG SAYS 40% OF PATCH’S WORKFORCE WILL BE LAID OFF

Gannett cut 31 jobs in Wisconsin, 6 in Green Bay. (Gannett has newspapers in 17 Wisconsin communities.)

I would love to know if the cutting ax was more brutally applied to the 25 staff members that signed the recall against Scott Walker.*

I would also love to know what the Gannett execs think now of that 7 months of staff time and fees that they sunk into creating a searchable database of Wisconsin public employees – complete with yearly income information.

You mean Gannett isn’t rolling in dough and subscriptions after that? They just updated it and everything.
When I get a minute, I’ll add a note as to whether those merit checks dispensed at the end of 2012 were also documented therein.
My working assumption is that no ( in fact “hell no”) they were not.

Check out this excerpt from
Does Gannett think its own papers matter? at Columbia Journalism Review:

No good-byes in Green Bay

According to the Gannett Blog, which is widely cited in other media accounts, the company cut 31 jobs in Wisconsin, including six at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. One of those laid off was veteran editorial cartoonist Joe Heller, reportedly the last staff cartoonist in the state. As Jim Romenesko pointed out, “Press-Gazette readers asking on Facebook about Heller’s departure get a cold ‘the Press-Gazette does not comment on personnel matters’ reply. That’s a nice send-off for a 28-year local newspaper legend.”

The Press-Gazette apparently doesn’t cover layoffs, either, or publish sentimental send-offs to departing staff, or even archive their past work. A search of the paper’s site turned up no coverage of the job cuts. And when I searched for “Joe Heller” on the site, the first result read, “Joe Heller Cartoons –” But when I clicked the link, it was dead: “Unfortunately, that page could not be found.”

This week, I reached out to multiple staffers at the Press-Gazette for more information. The one response I received was from Scott Johnson, the president and publisher, who said, “I am really not the best source for this.”

He added, “We had a handful [of layoffs] at my site and some have already been rehired here or have opportunities at other Gannett sites.” That’s good news for the rehired folks, but only modestly illuminating in terms of what’s happening.

These are the communities currently ‘served’ in some capacity by a Gannett newspaper at this time according to this wikipedia listing.
De Pere,
Fond du Lac,
Sturgeon Bay,
Stevens Point,
Wisconsin Rapids

That good old recall that gave us the opportunity to either cast a vote for or against Scott Walker – a situation that in the end didn’t shake out half bad for the half-man-half-corporation state executive given the loophole that allowed him to raise unlimited amounts of money.

A flashback for you on the brou ha ha surrounding Gannett and the recall:
Free the Gannett 25!

Special credit goes to my son for helping me with this blog post’s title. I’d give that kid a raise if I actually made any money doing this.


3 thoughts on “Can Wisconsin’s press suck any harder? Yes… Yes it can. And it will.

  1. Actually, the Wausau area (and any other city where s Gannett “newspaper” is distributed) is not served by Gannett. The Walker agenda is served by Gannett.

  2. The old capitalist model for the press would be fine if the publisher understood and accepted that readers want a press that is diligent about giving out local news – not recycled national news. But the new model is corporate buy out and consolidation and cuts and lay-offs. This equals destruction.

  3. Thank you blue cheddar! We need media cooperatives all over the State the people need to start supporting thier own and calling out these corporate propaganda outlets for what they are!

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